business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that StarKist Co. “has agreed to a settlement worth $20.5 million with Walmart to resolve antitrust claims.”

The story says that “StarKist, owned by South Korean parent Dongwon, is one of three major tuna suppliers who have been investigated for price-fixing in recent years. The U.S. Department of Justice has been looking into allegations that StarKist, Bumble Bee Foods, and Tri-Union Seafoods, which owns Chicken of the Sea, conspired to keep prices artificially high.

“A number of civil lawsuits were filed by retailers, grocers, wholesalers and suppliers. Chicken of the Sea settled with Walmart in May, although the terms also weren’t disclosed, other than to say the agreement included a cash settlement and a deal to participate in a series of programs and new product promotions in stores.

“Recently, Chicken of the Sea settled with numerous other companies — including O’Hara-based grocer Giant Eagle.”

RTT News reports that for the time being at least, Starbucks has no intention of launching cannabis-infused drinks.

"We're going to keep watching this, but right now, it's not on the road map," says CEO Kevin Johnson.

It may not be on the road map at the moment, but I’d be willing to bet there are contingency plans for a fast detour if Starbucks senses the moment is right and the opportunity is too significant to ignore.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Carl Rogberg, a former U.K. financial director at Tesco, has been acquitted of charges of fraud and false accounting that were tied to an accounting scandal that roiled the company. He is the third former Tesco exec to be acquitted of such charges.

Tesco paid million in fines and fees after it was determined that it had been systemically and systematically understating expenses and overstating revenues.

Bloomberg reports that Aldo Bensadoun, the billionaire founder of the Aldo group, described as “a globe-girdling shoe chain with more than 3,000 locations,” has decided to fund a retail management school at Montreal’s McGill University, his alma mater, that will “incorporate many fields of expertise needed to thrive in today’s industry, from data analytics and anthropology to artificial intelligence.”

The story quotes Bensadoun as saying that “few business schools around the world provide a focus on retail management, which means graduates often aren’t ready to work for a company like Aldo. ‘They come to us and they studied marketing, and they think that’s retail,’ he says. ‘Retail is not only marketing.’

“‘To be a good retailer, he continues, “you need to understand sociology, you need to understand architecture, to be able to create the right atmosphere for that consumer to come and feel the experience of the brand. That’s why it’s extremely important to bring all these various disciplines into one school.”
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